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Ann Arbor voters approve $1 billion dollar bond for school district

Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift.
Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift. (Credit: Meredith Bruckner)

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor residents, as well as those in eight surrounding townships served by Ann Arbor Public Schools, have approved the district’s $1 billion bond proposal.

The proposal passed narrowly with 53% of Tuesday’s vote. A total of 24,088 people voted, with 12,829 in support of the bond and 11,259 against.

General Election results for Ann Arbor Public Schools Bond Proposal on Nov. 5, 2019

It is one of the state’s largest ever bond proposals by a school district.

According to AAPS, the bond money will help improve existing infrastructure, including adding air conditioning to some buildings, introduce solar power and green energy, improve school security, expand classroom space, construct two new buildings and more over the next 20 years. Officials say buses, technology, musical instruments and school furniture are also needed.

Michigan is one of 12 states nationwide that does not offer state funding to improve school infrastructure.

The average age of AAPS’ 32 schools is 63 years old, with some buildings fast approaching 100 years, said Superintendent Jeanice Swift in a statement.

In 2017, the AAPS School Board hired consultant EMG to assess the conditions of its buildings. It determined that the schools were in good to fair condition. However, EMG warned that without upfront investment, many of the schools would soon be in poor condition.

But in a district that generally supports millages, some called to vote against the bond, in support of teachers who say they don’t feel supported by AAPS. A recent social media campaign highlighted the district salary cuts and freezes over the past decade. In a video posted on Facebook, teachers hold up signs of the amount of money they say they should have made without changes to their pay schedule.

Under state law, the bond money cannot go toward teacher salaries.

So, what does this mean for taxpayers?

Based on the average taxable value of a home worth $276,000, taxpayers will now pay $228 per year.

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